Alaska Governor Sarah Palin [on June 22, 2009] welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Kensington mine, a gold mining project near Juneau (Kensington, 2009, Â¶1).
[The] ruling reversed a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and confirmed the validity of a previously issued permit from the Corps of Engineers for disposal of tailings. The project is being developed by Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation (Kensington, 2009, Â¶2).
The state supported Coeur’s legal efforts to move the project ahead at every level of court review, including intervening in the lawsuit at the outset, litigating the case in the Ninth Circuit, filing a petition asking for review by the Supreme Court, and briefing the case in the Supreme Court on the merits (Kensington, 2009, Â¶3).
Even securing Supreme Court review was an uphill battle, because the federal government itself, whose permit the Ninth Circuit had invalidated, did not seek review. Only the State of Alaska and Coeur filed petitions (Kensington, 2009, Â¶4).
In addition, the case involved complex issues of how to interpret and apply the federal Clean Water Act, issues which led the Supreme Court to take the unusual step of ordering the parties to file supplemental briefs a few weeks ago (Kensington, 2009, Â¶5).
“This is great news for Alaska,” Governor Palin said. “Today’s ruling is a green light for responsible resource development. Kensington will produce as many as 370 well-paying jobs. We truly appreciate Coeur’s tenacity in pursuing the project and its dedication to hiring Alaskans to work at the mine.”
The state will continue to provide support through the Department of Labor’s workforce training and apprenticeship programs (Kensington, 2009, Â¶6).
The Kensington mine is located 45 miles northwest of Juneau. Couer estimates the mine will be brought into production by the second half of 2010. The mine is expected to produce as many as 150,000 ounces of gold per year during its early stages of operation. Over the life of the mine, Kensington is expected to yield more than 1 million ounces of gold (Kensington, 2009, Â¶7).
Governor Palin had directed the filing of the U.S. Supreme Court brief on May 15, 2009, as documented here. As noted in the release, the State of Alaska supported the mine from the outset and played a pivotal role in the outcome of the case. This is very much Governor Palin’s accomplishment.
Tailings — that is waste material surrounding the mineral being extracted — from a gold mine are not environmentally harmful. During the 1800s, pioneers would pan for gold in the rivers. Where do you think the tailings went — and where did they originate from? It’s earth going to earth!
As documented in the prior entry on this mine, it will employ over 400 Alaskans, half of whom are Native American, with an average salary in excess of $80,000 per year.
The Governor stood up and did the right thing, pursued the politics of progress and relentlessly fought the politics of retrogression. The Governor, the State, and the mine stood up to environmental extremists and won.
Mining, building power plants and refineries, drilling for oil, building roads — are activities that can be done responsibly. But they should be done, for they are the backbone of an advanced, civilized nation.
Governor lauds Kensington Mine ruling:
A gold mining project near Juneau. (2009, June 22). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved June 23, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1920